Brian Elliot’s wish is that he will someday be out of a job.
Elliot, as an LGBT rights advocate, sees legal equality on the horizon. As a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government, Elliot was groomed to work with Fortune 500 companies (and he has). However, he was always inspired to do social outreach, which he says comes in part from his Reform Jewish upbringing and sense of tikkun olam. He hopes to one day be able to tackle global issues such as poverty, but wants to do so as a full and equal citizen of the United States.
Elliot is the founder of Friendfactor (www.friendfactor.org), an organization that reasons that while it may be hard to inspire individuals to support an abstract cause, assigning the face of a friend or loved one to an issue will rally a force for change in the country. “We don’t even have to convert people,” Elliot says, “We’re all humans — we’re all on the same team fighting for the exact same things.”
Elliot argues that as a gay American he is denied many rights in many states but that social networking can expedite change.
Friendfactor functions as a website to inform and connect heterosexual and LGBT friends in advocacy, and is working on new tools to reach out. An upcoming pet project of the organization is a program that will call up your local congressman’s office and simultaneously pull up a sample script to help potentially nervous constituents voice their concerns about LGBT rights. New technology is key to new advocacy. “It’s not your grandmother’s gay rights organization,” says Elliot.
Extreme hobbies: Elliot has gone skydiving twice, enjoys scuba diving, and adores the trapeze.